Rich reds of Brownsea walk
This short walk will offer rich autumnal colour, sweeping views across the harbour, a sheltered spot by lily pond and back to the open grassland of Church Field where you can head back to the Cafe for a warming cuppa. Please note the Visitor Centre toilets are currently closed but quayside toilets are open.
Please book ahead before visiting
Brownsea Island is open and you need to book tickets before you visit. Members can book for free, while non-members will need to pay when booking. We'll be releasing tickets every Friday. Please note we’ll be turning people away who arrive and haven't booked. We're looking forward to welcoming you back.
Start: SZ022876 Church field
1. Start the walk from the path running next to Church Field, turning left as your reach the church and walking towards the visitor centre.
2. As you walk past the visitor centre and cart shed, the path will lead up the hill to Daffodil Field.
Trees in autumn colour
Brownsea Island hosts a variety of trees and you can also see the red autumnal fronds of the bracken. A sweet chestnut is on the left, approaching Church Field following direction one. Near the visitor centre there’s a red oak tree on the right, with deep red leaves that are much larger than usual. Following direction three across Daffodil Field, hazel trees are in the enclosure. Later, following direction four into the woodland there are beech trees. These are all deciduous and in fruit at this time, providing food for the red squirrels.
3. As you walk straight across the corner of Daffodil Field you will pick up the main path leading off to the right. From here you can take the left hand forks, each leading to one of three view points. Emerging from the final view point you will then turn left to re-join the main path and emerge at a junction.
Coastal view points
The woodland management work on Brownsea includes felling selected trees, to enable new growth and extend the heathland. This has opened up the island and from the view points, the rolling hills of the Purbecks open up before you. From direction three, standing and looking across the water from the view points, the busy working harbour of Poole can be seen. You can also spot some of the other islands including Furzey, Green and Round, but Long Island is still hidden from view. In a clear day you can also see Corfe Castle in the distance.
4. At the junction you will walk straight ahead, following the sign to the Lily Pond. Stop here to look for red squirrels. Follow this path all the way to the end, until you reach a junction.
Red squirrel spotting
Autumn is the best time to spot red squirrels at Brownsea as they busily hunt for seeds and nuts on the woodland floor. From direction four as you stroll through the woodland, look up too as they spend most of their time high up in the trees, but try not to make much noise as red squirrels are very shy. Head through the woodland towards the pond, keeping an eye on the beech and sweet chestnut trees whose nuts the squirrels find particularly delicious.
5. At the junction, turn right and walk past the ruins of the vinery. This path will take you all the way back to Church Field, where you started the walk.
End: SZ022876 Church field
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